[SpaceNews] Following its successful STP-2 launch, there was some confusion as to whether Falcon Heavy is fully certified to fly satellites in the NSSL program.|
According to the Air Force, the answer is yes, but not completely.
"I certified them to compete last year," Lt. Gen. John Thompson, commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, told SpaceNews in an interview last week.
But that was only the first step. "One of the requirements behind certification is to fly three missions," Thompson said. The STP-2 launch was Falcon Heavy’s third. It flew its first demonstration mission in February 2018, followed by Arabsat 6A in April 2019.
"They have completed that. They are fully certified now," said Thompson. "But that doesn’t mean the work on the Falcon Heavy stops."
What that means is that Falcon Heavy has been certified "for certain orbits," said Thompson. "It’s not certified for all of our most stressing national security space orbits," he said. "We continue to work with SpaceX to mature their design and I think that’s going well."
| So, the big question is, since Atlas will end, is the currently un-flown Vulcan certified? For all orbits and missions? |